Hello! In a desperate attempt to keep myself on track during Camp NaNoWriMo this month, I’m making sure to post a short excerpt of my project a day. At the same time, all you lucky people get a glimpse into the world of the Faerie Court Chronicles before it comes out this summer. Sounds like a win-win to me! Well, I hope it’s a win for me. The sleepless nights and countless mugs of coffee may beg to differ. Let’s find out!
Zoe locks arms with me and takes off towards the water where small groups of kids are already tossing beach balls and frisbees and bobbing in the gentle waves. I manage to wiggle away before I can make a fool of myself sprinting through the sand. Zoe doesn’t even to notice before flailing into the water, diving under, and then popping back up.
She parts her mane of hair to reveal a pout. “You’re no fun, Gia.”
“I’m plenty of fun,” I reply, dipping my toes into the water. “I’m just more of a slow-burn sort of fun.”
Zoe beings to argue, but someone shoves me deeper into the cold water, then pulls me back, making me scream.
“Saved your life!” Miguel laughs.
I punch him in the shoulder and he retreats deeper into the water where Zoe wades cackling.
“You’re such an asshole,” I say, unable to keep the smile off my face. I can’t be mad, seeing as I would have done the same thing to him if the roles had been reversed. Pretty sure I have at some point in our friendship.
I’ve actually known Miguel longer than Zoe. We’ve gone to school together since first grade, but we didn’t start hanging out until freshman year. Andrew Weber kept pulling on my cornrows and calling me a fat dyke. Miguel hit him in the head with his history book and they both wound up suspended for a few days. Andrew doesn’t mess with us any more.
The three of us have made a bit of a name for ourselves.
Miguel slicks his black hair out of his hair. “You guys are late.”
“Gia needed a new suit,” Zoe explains, wading over to Miguel. “Remember what happened to the old one?”
Miguel gives me a sly smirk. “I still say you got it tangled in that drier on purpose.”
I roll my eyes and splash them both. “Yeah, because I love shopping for new clothes oh so much.”
The nearby slosh of water gets my attention, followed by, “Hey, guys, we need a few more people for volleyball. Want to join?”
I turn and come face to face with Oliver O’Brian. Like Miguel, I’ve known of Oliver forever. We’ve been in classes together here and there and talked, but I wouldn’t say we’re friends by any means. I even thought he was cute once upon a time, with those bright green eyes, curly red hair, and mischievous grin.
But he went by Alice back then. Freshman year he came out as Oliver and my little almost-crush got an immediate order to ceased and desist.
It’s nothing against him personally. He’s just a guy. I don’t like guys. It’s as simple as that. You can’t jump back and forth in a small high school like ours. People talk.
His transition threw plenty of people for a loop, but from what I know, the school was pretty understanding and no one’s really given him grief. Now, about two years later, he just looks like one of the guys. His hair’s shorter and messier, his jaw more angular and his shoulders broader, but those eyes are still the brightest green I’ve ever seen and that smile’s just begging some poor girl to run away and get in trouble with him.
And he’s toned. Until this moment, due to a lack of shirtless opportunities, I never realized how toned he is. His black swim binder adds to the illusion, making his chest lie flat as a washboard. Judging by his open, cheerful expression, none of the friends he’s playing volleyball with a small distance away have badgered him with any uncomfortable questions about it.
“Sure,” Miguel says, taking a few steps towards the group. “We’re not doing anything in particular.”
Zoe hauls herself to her feet. “I’m game. Gia?”
I study Oliver’s other friends. They’re all at least mildly athletic with trim waists, hints of outlines of muscles, not to mention dazzling smiles. They joke, laugh, and splash each other as they wait. I recognize most of them from classes, even though we haven’t really talked.
Me attempting to play a sport would be a pretty lousy introduction.